Word Lists

Prompts for Fiction Writers

Everyone who writes fiction, whether flash fiction, a short story, a novella, or the awesome Great American Novel, must create a world from scratch. If you’re a fiction writer, you’re working in one of the most fascinating and demanding fields of writing.

It’s a challenge to start. What topic? What characters? Here’s help. Writing Prompts to get you started.

Fiction Writing is a Deeper Workout.

Writing, like any skill, is developed by practice. Best to set up a schedule, write every day. Stick with it.

Prompts can be like cracking open a fortune cookie. Grab one, take the prompt and start writing a story from what you find inside.

Sitting with your computer and putting in a consistent amount of time writing will improve everything you do as an artist of the written word.

Pick a prompt today, and dive right in.

Shopping Man

Where is this man?


Make a list of all the things the man shopping in the store experiences. Include all the items you can think of that he might be hearing, feeling, seeing, or smelling.

What noises does he hear?

What is he touching? What do they feel like?

What does he see in the store? What colors?

What does he smell?

Write a short story

Consider the image again. Write a short story, 100-250 words. Try and use some of the descriptions of his sensations in the store.

What is the man thinking? What is his internal dialogue as he is looking at shirts? Who is he thinking of?


Write about someone watching the man picking over the shirts? Could a girl be watching and hoping he notices her? Perhaps the store clerk is watching and thinking that he is too picky.

Share your story with us.

Ice and Snow Story

Make a Snow Word List

Everyone has heard the saying that there are fifty words for snow or frozen water. Make a list of as many as you can think of.

Now see how many more words there are at these sites.

Write your Story

Write a story about snow or ice using some of the words you just listed. Here’s some prompts where you can use words for frozen water. It can be true, fiction but based on something that happened or complete fiction. Poetry is fine.

  • Someone is learning to skate in a rink or on a wilderness pond
  • There was a monster snowstorm and the house doors are snowed in.
  • First sentence: Suddenly the snowman in my yard started to move.
  • My new puppy ran out the door and saw snow for the first time.
  • First sentence: While walking in a forest, I broke through a pond’s frozen surface.

Share your Story with Us

Four Word Story

The most famous short story is Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story, For Sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.

A few examples of sad short stories are:

  • Combat boots unlaced forever.
  • Population zero, plus us.
  • We’re out of chocolate.
  • The phone never rang.
  • Meanwhile she moved on.

Here are lots more examples of sad stories.

Try writing a happy story in four words.

How about a four-word horror story? Here are a few prompts:

  • The email didn’t deliver.
  • I didn’t hit save.
  • Rain in the forecast.

Think of your own four-word horror story and share it with us.